Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ending Some, Beginning Others

As we wrap up the month of April we have two fundraisers coming to a close today. If you have not had the chance to take advantage of either the Usborne Book Fundraiser or the Pink Zebra Sprinkles Fundraiser please go take a look! I would like to thank the ladies that generously offered up some of their commission to our family this month. Every dollar makes a difference and gets us closer to our children. Thank you, Thank you to those that made purchases and donations this month. I can never say thank you enough for supporting our families journey! Here are the links for the two fundraisers that are ending TONIGHT! and .

Do not worry though we have some fun things starting up for the Month of May!! Currently we have a Starbucks Gift Card giveaway going on. For every $5 donated into our FSP ( )we will enter your name into a drawing for a $25 gift card to Starbucks. Once we get 15 donations of $5 we will draw a winner!!! So $10 gets you 2 entries and so on.

Starting May 1st (tomorrow) we will be launching our puzzle fundraiser!! You will want to see this puzzle completed! It is a awesome picture our dear friend Annie Trenda took ( ). I am so blessed by the village around us. You can buy a puzzle piece for $5 and we will write your name on the back and put the puzzle together as we go. When the puzzle is complete we will glue it all together and put it in a glass frame so that our children will know how many people loved them, wanted them to be home, before they were even here. It will hang proudly in our playroom!

Then SOME HUGE NEWS during the week of MAY 5th our Family will be the featured family on the Give1Save1 facebook Page and Blog ( ) !!!! This could be HUGE please go over to their page and like it! Then on the week of May 5th we will need everybody's help in sharing this page. Spreading the word. Donating $1 and seeing how much you're $1 makes a difference. We will be debuting a video of our families adoption journey also and you will not want to miss it. I can not tell you how many times I have already watched it, lol. It truly amazed me everytime I see how much God has blessed us! Love my Family.

For all my local Supporters on May 31st time still to be determined we are going to be doing something fun!!! We are going to be having a Mother/Daughter Self Defense Class! What could be more fun than a night out with your Girl or Girls or Mom learning techniques to stay safe. Plus it will be a relaxed, fun environment! We are so excited for this opportunity blessed to us by our Children's Taekwondo Master! Please go check them out on Facebook ( ). We will be nailing down all the specifics within the next couple days, but if you are interested mark your calandars. May 31st (afternoon/evening).

The last but not least, mark your calenders for JULY 19th we have a CAR WASH on the books at the Sherwood Les Schwab!!! Weather should be lovely, and a perfect time to wash some cars, spread the word about the orphan crisis in the world, and raise some money to help our children come home!! If you would like to volunteer we would love to have you!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

While We Wait...

What are we waiting for now? We are currently in a waiting period for our USCIS Biometric Appointment. In scientific terms, "biometrics is" means anatomical or physiological data by which a person can be uniquely identified. So at our appointment they will most likely collect our fingerprints, take our photo, and have us sign our name for electronic capture. Seems pretty simple. Then we start another wait for our approval letter!

While we wait we have a few things going on that you as a community can help us with in raising funds to bring our children home!!! We have a Pink Zebra fundraiser going through the end of April!!! This is just in time for Mother's Day! They have wonderful gifts and what Mother does not like a nice smelling home. Plus there are Mother's Day Specials (I love a deal)! Pink Zebra Sprinkles are a unique scented wax melt that is available in 51 different scents – combining different scents together allows you to make your own custom blend.THey have beautiful warmers that you place the sprinkles in, that add warmth and decor to any room. They also have diffusers, soaps and lotions!

Then for all the special kiddos in your life!!! We have an awesome fundraiser going through the end of April. Usborne Books and More! I can not rave enough. My Mother In-Love (Law is not nice, lol) ordered books for the kids for Easter through our fundraiser (Thank you Denise), and they loved them. My son got his first ever Chapter book, written to his level, he is in Kindergarten, and it gave him such a confidence boost. He has read the whole thing and now checked out another chapter book at the Library. I am hoping this has sparked a love for reading in him. Our eldest daughter already has that love, but was excited to discover a new series of books. She is an animal lover (good thing since we live on a mini farm) and has really enjoyed the Amy Wild Animal Talk Book she received. Baby she loves all books, because that means that someone is spending time with her!! Books are great for one on one time and bonding. We sit our children close, or in our laps and we read, we interact, we give them our complete focus! What could be better.

Then for some exciting upcoming fundraisers!! On May 1st we will Launch our Puzzle fundraiser! We had a friend (thank you Annie)take a special photo (check her out )that represents the new additions to our family and we have turned this photo into a puzzle! We will sell each puzzle piece for $5. When you sponsor a puzzle piece we will write your name on the back of the piece and then when the puzzle is all finished we will glue together and frame in a glass frame so that we can hang in our play area! We want our children to know the village it took to bring them home, that they were loved and wanted by so many before they came! We will keep all posted as the puzzle comes together with photos and maybe some videos of the children home already helping put it together (just because they are cute)! The donations can be made to our FSP on . Again we will launch this on May 1st.

Our other BIG NEWS for May is that the week of May 5th our family has been chosen to be the featured family on the facebook page Give1Save1 ( ) This is such an honor and could really be a big deal for our fundraising! We will need everybody's help though. You can even go right now and like the page so you do not forget. They also have a blog that you can check out and read about the featured families and other organizations they are supporting. The point is to get all of the community involved. To give $1 and watch your $1 grow. To help save 1 orphan, and in our families case 2. We would love your support in helping us share this page on the week of May 5th especially. We will have a video of our families journey to share with you and it is amazing! I may or may not have watched it like 1000 times already, it just makes me smile and feel so blessed with what God has done in our lives and how he has chosen to grow our family!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guest Post -Supporting and Understanding an Adoptive Family!

I read this blog post and absolutely loved it! We have been through a couple different adoption styles before, Newborn and Toddlerish, but we are about to bring home 2 older children. Two children with very real memories of their past, Two children that will leave everything, everyone and their culture behind. Just imagine the trauma these children will be going through. Not knowing the language or really maybe totally grasping why they are being brought to this new country with people who do not look like them or talk like them. They do not know that their lives are getting a fresh new start, that FAMILY is a good thing. All adoption starts with loss. The loss of a birth family, and for our two newest children the loss again of foster families or caregivers they may have known for years. So please take the time to read this blog and all the questions and answers. As parents we do everything to protect and provide for our children no matter how they enter our family. Sometimes we have to take bigger extremes to help them feel safe and loved. Please be understanding of our wishes! We appreciate everybody's support and love through this journey and are so excited you are on it with us.

Written by Ashley Andrews -

Our children are not necessarily grateful to have been adopted.
And we don't expect them to be. It is not that our kids don't notice the stability of a family. It's not that they don't cherish the love that they are receiving or that they don't like their new life. It is because children are programmed to need, want and expect love. When we provide it we are not heroes, we are simply meeting one of their very basic needs. Expecting adopted children to be grateful for being adopted is like expecting our biological children to be grateful for being conceived. It was a choice that we, their parents, made and that they were brought into.

Please don't feed my kids.
For children who have known hunger, food means love. We want them to learn to love us, their parents and siblings, before they bond with extended family, neighbors and friends. I know that they stare longingly at anything edible. I know that our two year old puts his head on the table and looks at you with puppy dog eyes. But since we were not there to meet their early needs (breast or bottle feeding, comforting them when they were sick, changing diapers, kissing boo boos) we need to make up for it by meeting as many of their physical and emotional needs as possible now. Many adopted children also have food insecurities. Some eat until they vomit and then start eating again. Others hoard food, needing the comfort of knowing that there is some saved for later. It is best to leave all feeding to the parents unless specifically directed otherwise.

Parenting an adopted child is hard work and we struggle.
We may tell you that were okay when we're really falling apart. We're worried that if we are honest about how difficult it is that you won't understand and that you'll think we're nuts. Adding a child who may or may not have anything in common with us socially, culturally, biologically or even personality-wise is challenging. Though undoubtedly beautiful and worth all of the struggles, adoption certainly isn't always easy or pretty.

It is greatly appreciated if you choose your wording carefully, especially around our children.
Yes, these are all our "real" kids (though sometimes it would be nice if all of my kids, adopted and biological, had "off" switches) and, in most situations, you probably do not need to specify whether you are talking about my "adopted kids" or my "biological kids". They are all my kids even if they joined us through different paths.

If you'd like to offer support (meal, help with house cleaning, etc) when an adopted child joins the family, please do even if we don't reach out and ask.
Many of us won't specifically ask for help or tell you what we need. However, I don't know a single adoptive mom who would turn down an offer to have a group of friends tidy/clean her house during those first few weeks at home with a new child. Likewise, coffee and chocolate are most always welcome and might be exactly what a new adoptive mom needs to get through those challenging times of adjustment!

Please don't try to get our child to like you the most.
Attachment and bonding are challenging enough without having friends and family slip our children candy, shower them with gifts, offer seconds at meals or encouraging bending and stretching of family rules. We're already working our tails off to get them to like us. With consistency and time they will learn to like you too, I promise.

Our adopted children had lives before they joined our family.
They had/have birth families and other relatives who are important to them and who deserve recognition and credit too. They have had life experiences that, while sometimes different than ours, are still special and valuable.

Be considerate of the types of questions that you ask about our child's background and personal history, especially in their presence and especially if they are old enough to understand.
Would it offend you if someone asked if you have AIDS, if you were abandoned, if your parents were drug users or how your parents died? If so, best not to ask these questions to someone else. We understand that it is normal to be curious and to wonder about the circumstances that led to a child's adoption. However, these are things that we discuss openly in our immediate family but not elsewhere. Our children may or may not choose to divulge more of their personal stories someday when they are older but they are THEIR stories and details to share, not mine.

Sometimes adopted children need to be parented differently than biological children.
We are not spoiling them. We aren't making excuses for poor behavior. Rather, we are parenting a child whose background may be very dissimilar to anything we've experienced. A child who has been abandoned and who has a fear of abandonment shouldn't be sent to time out alone in another room. A child who is still attaching to their adoptive family may need to be firmly held while having loving, affirming words whispered into their ear during a full-blown tantrum. The types of consequences that work for other children might not work for a child who doesn't have the same sense of value of their possessions and who doesn't understand what it means to have privileges. As parents, we must be flexible to help meet the individual needs of our child even if it means that we do things a little differently sometimes.

If you would like to give a gift to our new child, please consider something small that the whole family can enjoy together.
A few ideas are a frozen meal, a gift card to the movies, a small ornament commemorating the adoption or art supplies for all of the kids to share. We know that you want to welcome our new additions but gifts can be overwhelming for children who have had few material possessions. Also, we want our children to learn to love you for who you are, not for the fact that they hope they'll get another gift the next time they see you again. Other siblings may also experience jealousy and resentment if the new addition suddenly receives an armory of gifts and they are excluded.

Attachment takes time and work.
It doesn't happen overnight. Even if it appears that our child is securely attached to us it may take many months or years and every child and every family bonds differently. Many times we're faking it until we make it but one day we will wake up and realize that we're not faking it anymore and that our love is deep and real.

Parents who have recently added a child through adoption need support, friendship, love and encouragement.
Even if we're somewhat withdrawn and spending a lot of time at home cocooning with our new addition we value our friendships. Please continue to check up on us and to email, text, call or stop by. If you were in our life before we still want you in our life and in the lives of our children!

Please refrain from commenting on our child's appearance (specifically relating to ethnicity/race) in front of him or her.
All children want to feel included and to fit in. Pointing out how dark they are, how differently they look from the rest of us or how unique their hair feels only makes them feel like they stand out more.

Please do not ask adopted children if they like their new parents/family.
Adopted children do not usually get to hand pick their family. Adoption is similar to an arranged marriage and unique, sometimes very different people are brought together. With hard work and patience true love may grow. However, ask ANY child, biological or adopted (especially any older child!) if they like their parents and be prepared for some interesting answers!

It takes time to help children start to heal from a difficult past.
Just because they have been with us for a certain amount of time does not mean that the are "fixed". On the other hand, just because children are adopted does not necessarily mean that they will be any more difficult, defiant, less successful or anything else as teenagers or adults.

Educating your children about adoption and diversity helps my children.
Talking openly about adoption, children who look different than one or both parents and other "nontraditional" family structures helps our children feel accepted and secure at extracurricular activities, church, school and elsewhere in our community.

Our new additions are not celebrities.
We appreciate all of the love and support that we were shown during our adoption process and we know that everyone is excited to meet them. However, taking photos of just our adopted child or pouring attention on them while ignoring our other children is not healthy for anyone. The child who is receiving all of the attention often feels singled out and siblings quickly become resentful.

Our children may be "delayed" when they join our family but often they just need time.
Adopted children are placed into environments that may be very different than anything they've ever experienced. They may be overstimulated, confused and sometimes there are language barriers. With time and patience most emotional, intellectual and physical delays will be overcome.

Please do not tell us how amazing we (parents) are because we have chosen to adopt.
We know that this comment is usually intended as a compliment but our adopted kids are not burdens, charity cases or a community service project to be completed. As parents we gladly invest the time and energy needed to ensure the happiness and well-being of any of our children.

We may discourage physical contact with our child for the first several months that they are home or until we feel like they are securely attached to us.
Please do not insist on holding them, hugging them or having them sit on your lap. Many children who have lived in orphanages and institutions learn to fight for adult attention. Often they can put on quite the show and act like the most friendly, charming child to draw attention to themselves. While it may be cute and though it gives the false impression that they are well-adjusted and confident, it is very important that initially the parents are the only adults who help fulfill these children's need for physical affection. This also teaches healthy boundaries and is a safety consideration since no child, adopted or biological, should feel obligated to have close physical contact with someone that they do not know well.

We do not advertise our child's "cost".
If you would like to know how expensive our adoption process was, please ask when our children are not present, call after our kids are in bed or send us an email. Most adoptive families are happy to share our experiences and to provide helpful information but we do not ever want our children to feel like they were bought or that they are commodities.

When the going gets tough please do not ask if we regret our decision to adopt or imply that "we asked for it".
Few people would tell a sleep-deprived mother of a colicky newborn "well, you asked for this" and it would be considered rude to ask a new mother if she regretted her decision to have a baby. Just because something is difficult does not mean that we regret it. There are bumps in the road of every journey.

Even the happiest of adoptions are a result of challenging or difficult circumstances.
Though we like to think of adoption as a "happy ending", birth parents may have made difficult decisions, children may have faced losses and many lives were forever changed. Though most adopted children grow to be happy, well-adjusted adults and though most adoptive families are beautiful and full of love, it is important not to romanticize adoption.

And, most importantly:

No one is perfect.
If you slip and call our biological kids our "real" kids or if you've already asked "What happened to his mother?" we won't hold a grudge. We know that our family is different. We understand that it is impossible to be sensitive and politically correct in every situation all the time. These are ideas and suggestions, not commandments.

We appreciate that you care about our family. We cannot thank you enough for wanting to learn more about supporting and understanding the adoptive family and for helping make this transition as smooth as possible for all of us!

If you would like to read more about supporting adoptive families, adjustment and how you can help, "After the Airport" is a great blog post. "I am not Super Mom: Ten things I want you to know about adoption" is another good read.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Another Wait has Begun..

Today we mailed out our I800A - This is an Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country per a google search. We could not do this step without our completed homestudy which we just received last Thursday. Getting to this point is so very exciting, and nerve racking. Now we have to be approved by the government to adopt internationally via what is written about us on paper (hope we sound good) LOL. This is where we are issued a fingerprint appointment, and is the last document we need for our dossier. So this is A BIG DEAL!!! They say it can take 30 to 60 days! I have heard they are running around the 40-45 day mark!!

Today did not start out smoothly because that would be waayyyy to easy. So I had one child wake with some random illness, thought it was an ongoing issue we have been dealing with, and so I kept him home and carried on luckily going first thing this morning and mailing the packet because after we got home, the sickness got worse and I realized we were dealing with something much more than I had thought. Prayers for quick healing for my sick little man. I feel bad for him and I also do not do well with puke (sorry TMI). Secretly I also do not want it passed around to anybody else in the family. How to make him feel loved, while keeping him quarantined away from everybody. This mommy has some tricks, that include redbox, special bowls, cool rags and special words!

Once again and always please pray for our families journey. Pray for our children across the ocean that their hearts are being prepared for a family to enter into their lives. Please share our families story. We love to talk about Adoption!! If you feel lead please donate and help us bring our children home. All donations are tax deductible.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Adoption Update

Wow, It has been too long since i have given an update be a blogger. Hopefully those who read the blog also follow along on our facebook page for updates also as I seem to post more frequent on there . I have been up to my eyeballs in paperwork, but very excited about the progress! We are getting ready to submit most of our Dossier paperwork to the Chinese Consulate for Authentication. This is a big step in finishing our Dossier up. Along with sending these documents comes a decent size fee ($255). So thank you so much to all who supported our auction we just held as we raised within dollars of this fee! God provides as we need it for sure. We are still waiting out on the revisions to be completed on our homestudy, We are trying to stay patient and know that it will be done in his time and praying all will be done right this time so that we can get the finalized copy notarized and in our hands. Once we have this we will be ready to send it with our I800A paperwork to Immigration for Approval to adopt internationally! This again is a huge step and the wait once sent can be anywhere from 30 to 60 days. Again this step comes with a hefty fee of ($890), which we are very close to having!

Our friends so generously held a fundraiser where she hand makes dresses and in honor of our China song birds she made Kimonos and sold them and gave 100% of her profit to our families adoption fund! She raised $301! What a blessing! This is an amazing Christian family and we feel so blessed that they would do this for our family. Please go check out her work at you will not be disappointed. the perfect flower girl dresses or outfits for family photos.

This month you can help our family raise funds by shopping for your decorative home fragrance at you can use party #7939, but not a requirement. A friend of a friend heard about our adoption and will donating half of her commision to us for the month of April sales. As Spring/summer arrives and we dive into all that cleaning lets get the house smelling delicious at the same time!

The outpour of support from our friends, family and people I have never met just blows me away! God knits us all together to be a part of these orphans stories so that they to will become cherished daughters and sons, orphans no more. Please continue to pray, donate and share our story so that we may get to our children as soon as we can. You can always make a tax deductible donation to our FSP account at

I leave you with an updated picture of our little man who we are working so hard to get too! Our sweets eating sweets!